Diane Orson

Managing Editor/Host

Diane Orson is WNPR's local host for Morning Edition.  She's also a reporter and managing editor for WNPR, as well as a contributor to National Public Radio. Her stories are heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Weekend Edition and Here And Now.  Diane began at WBUR in Boston and came to Connecticut in 1988 as a co-producer for Open Air New England.  She shared a Peabody Award with Faith Middleton for their piece of radio nostalgia about New Haven's Shubert Theatre.  Her reporting has  been recognized by the Connecticut Society for Professional Journalists and the Associated Press, including the Ellen Abrams Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism and the Walt Dibble Award for Overall Excellence.

Diane is also an active professional musician. She lives in Hamden with her husband. Her two children are in college.

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Courts
2:52 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Two British Terror Suspects Plead Guilty in New Haven Federal Court

Babar Ahmad.
Credit BBC

Two terror suspects who were extradited from Britain a year ago pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in New Haven. The men admitted to raising funds for terrorists through a Connecticut-based web company that was unaware of it's clients' business practices.

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Emergency Response
11:37 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Faster Medical Response During Mass Casualty Attacks Can Save Lives

Credit Stockbyte / Stockbyte / Thinkstock

Federal officials and medical experts say when medical personnel respond more aggressively during mass casualty events, it can save lives. The Obama administration is formally recommending that emergency medical personnel be sent into so-called “warm zones” during mass attacks to try and prevent death by controlling victims’ early bleeding.

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Newtown: One Year Later
12:33 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Documenting an Outpouring of Grief in Newtown

A child sent this note to Newtown.
Ross MadDonald

Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that left 20 first graders and six educators dead. WNPR will bring you stories throughout this week looking at the impact of that tragedy on our community.

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Metro-North
11:32 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Changes, Improvements Announced for Metro-North

Metro-North Signal Department workers consult circuit diagrams, make signal changes and test the system at Spuyten Duyvil.
J.P. Chan MTA

Metro-North announced immediate improvements to address safety concerns at critical curves and moveable bridges. 

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School Reform
8:26 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Governor Malloy Talks Education Reform at American Enterprise Institute

Governor Dannel Malloy during a visit to WNPR.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy was in Washington, D.C. on Monday to talk about Connecticut’s education reform initiatives. He spoke at a forum hosted by the conservative free-market think tank, the American Enterprise Institute. 

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Children
9:38 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Toy Safety a Concern as Holiday Shopping Gets Underway

ConnPIRG's annual survey of toy safety warns that not all toys comply with stricter new laws.
Credit polica/iStockphoto / ConnPIRG

With the holiday shopping season underway, the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group has released its annual report on toy safety. Director Abe Scarr cautioned that parents and guardians need to watch out for toys with toxic chemicals on store shelves.

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Transportation
8:09 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Call for Expedited Probe Into Latest Deadly Metro-North Derailment

A Metro-North train bound for Grand Central Station derailed early Sunday morning in the Bronx.
Credit Daniel Cohen / @danielcohen on Twitter

A Metro-North train on the Hudson line derailed Sunday morning in the Bronx. Four people were killed and more than 60 people were injured.

It's been a difficult year for Metro-North. In May, two commuter trains collided outside of Bridgeport, injuring more than 70 people. Just weeks later, a track foreman was killed by a train near West Haven. Then in September, a power failure disrupted travel on the New Haven line for nearly two weeks.

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Food Assistance
3:11 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Food Pantry Demand Linked to Benefit Cuts

Federal stimulus funds that supported SNAP benefits ran out on November 1, and area food pantries have seen an increase in demand.
Credit Rick Reinhard / Creative Commons

Connecticut’s food pantries and soup kitchens continue to see rising numbers of people in need of food assistance. Nancy Carrington is president of the Connecticut Food Bank. She said though there’s been slight improvement in job growth in the state, its not affecting people at the lower end of the pay scale.

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Strings For Newtown
11:56 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Newtown Concert Features Some of America's Best-Known Fiddlers

Bruce Molsky, Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, Mark O'Connor, Julie Lyonn Lieberman, Donna Hebert, Laraaji Venus (clockwise from top-left corner) and Norwalk Youth Symphony (center).

Grammy-winning violinist Mark O’Connor, nationally celebrated duo Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, and premier fiddler Bruce Molsky are among the musicians who will be in Connecticut on Sunday December 1 to perform during a concert called Strings For Newtown. The program begins at 3:00 pm at Newtown Congregational Church.

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Language Education
4:09 pm
Thu November 21, 2013

End of Bilingual Education in Windham Forces English Language Learners to Cope

Credit carlosbezz/iStock / Thinkstock

As the number of Hispanic students in Connecticut's schools continues to rise, the achievement gap between these students and their white classmates remains. Gaps can be found in every grade, in every subject, in just about every school district in the state. The highest percentage of English language learners can be found in the town of Windham. In the past year, there have been big changes there to the way Hispanic students are being taught.

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Addiction Treatment
11:03 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Fairfield University Opens Housing for Students in Recovery

McAuliffe Hall at Fairfield University.
Credit Stagophile / Creative Commons

Fairfield University has opened the state’s first off-campus home for college students recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. The university's Recovery House differs from other substance-free college housing because it’s designed specifically for students who are actively trying to stay sober.

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Student Health
9:40 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Federal Bill Aims to Better Protect Students With Food Allergies

A shot is delivered to treat an allergic reaction.
Credit Michelle McCandless / U.S. Navy

President Obama signed a bipartisan bill Wednesday that offers financial incentives to states if schools stockpile epinephrine. Epinephrine is the emergency medication considered the primary treatment for a severe allergic reaction, called anaphylaxis.

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First Time Voter, First Time Candidate
8:52 am
Thu November 14, 2013

First Time Voter Wins Seat on Hamden School Board

Arturo Perez Cabello and Michael Ross
Credit Diane Orson, WNPR

Only about a third of Connecticut’s eligible voters made it to the polls for last week’s municipal election. Meet Arturo Perez-Cabello, a recently naturalized citizen who voted for the first time on election day and won a seat on his local school board. 

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Student Credits
11:55 am
Mon November 11, 2013

Debate Over Transfer Credits Questions Integrity, Affordability

Tunxis Community College in Farmington.
Sphilbrick Creative Commons

University of Connecticut officials will soon vote on a proposal to limit the number of credits freshmen students can transfer from the state’s community colleges. 

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Spotlight on the Arts
10:58 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Meet the Juice Vocal Ensemble

Juice Vocal Ensemble.
Credit Dannie Price

Each of the three singers has a solo career, but when they come together, the women of the Juice Vocal Ensemble perform a wide range of music. Alto Kerrie Andrew spoke with CPTV. "We can sing very difficult virtuosic new music," she said, "or we can sing folky stuff, or have a go at a bit of beat boxing, or be told what to in an opera or improvise, or work with electronics. So we like to think that’s fairly individual for our group, that we’re pretty diverse."

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Cheating
8:49 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Investigators Confirm Test Tampering at Hartford School

Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

An investigation has confirmed test tampering at a Hartford elementary school. In a report submitted this week to state education officials by an outside law firm, investigators concluded there were irregularities in more than two dozen Connecticut Mastery Tests at the Early Reading Lab at Betances Elementary School. The report was obtained by The Hartford Courant.

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School Reform
11:16 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Election Shifts Bridgeport School Board

Bridgeport Schools Superintendent Paul Vallas.
Credit The Connecticut Mirror

In this week’s election, the small Working Families Party won coalition control of Bridgeport’s Board of Education. The nine-member school board will now have a five-member voting bloc that opposes School Superintendent Paul Vallas and his education reform efforts.

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Election Day
1:33 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

New Haven Voters to Decide Makeup of School Board

Toni Harp and Justin Elicker during a mayoral debate this campaign season.
Credit Melissa Bailey / New Haven Independent

New Haven residents will decide today who will be the city’s next mayor. State Senator Toni Harp is facing Alderman Justin Elicker. The winner will replace the retiring Mayor John DeStefano, who served 20 years in office.

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CCSU Lockdown
8:22 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Student at Center of Lockdown Apologizes

David Kyem was charged with breach of peace.
Credit New Britain Police Department

A 21-year-old student at Central Connecticut State University is apologizing for actions that led to a three-hour lockdown on campus Monday. David Kyem, the son of a CCSU geography professor, told The Hartford Courant that he’s sorry for the fear and confusion. Kyem was arrested and charged with breach of peace, and then released on $1,000 bail.

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Election Day
5:39 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Residents to Vote on Casino Proposal in Palmer, Massachusetts

Credit Brad Willis / Creative Commons

Residents in Palmer, Massachusetts will vote Tuesday on whether to support or reject a proposal by Mohegan Sun to build a $1 billion resort casino in their town. Polls show that support for the idea of a casino in Palmer continues to increase, but that does not guarantee a win for casino supporters. 

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Danbury Prison
1:57 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Judges Oppose Plans to Convert Danbury Federal Prison to All-Male

Credit Kudumomo / Creative Commons

Chief judges in the region, including Connecticut’s Chief Judge Janet Hall, say they oppose plans to convert a federal prison in Danbury into a men’s facility. The facility is the only federal prison in the northeast for women. 

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International ties
8:26 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Alexei Navalny Faces New Indictment

Alexei Navalny in 2011.
Credit Никита Баталов / Creative Commons

Russian investigators have charged Alexei Navalny with a new crime. Navalny is a Russian opposition leader with ties to Yale University.

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New Haven
1:52 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Skeletons Unearthed During Superstorm Sandy Reveal Some Historical Details

Credit Des Colhoun / Creative Commons

One year ago on Halloween eve, there was a surprising discovery on the New Haven green. It was just days after Superstorm Sandy, and trees had blown down all around town. A giant oak tree toppled over on the green, and there, tangled in its roots, were centuries-old human bones.

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Weighty History
9:43 am
Thu October 31, 2013

William Taft's Yale Days Show Humor, Struggle With Obesity

William Taft's custom-made chair, courtesy Yale University Art Gallery.
Uma Ramiah

America’s 27th President, William Howard Taft, has been in the news recently. New research finds that a diet prescribed for the nation's portliest president looked very similar to today’s low-carb, low-calorie diets. William Howard Taft was a Yale man who weighed 225 pounds when he graduated from college.

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Coastal Resilience
10:24 am
Wed October 30, 2013

What We've Learned From Superstorm Sandy

Sandy slammed into Connecticut this week in 2012.
Credit Jan Ellen Spiegel / WNPR

This week marks one year since Superstorm Sandy slammed into the northeast, causing deaths, destroying homes and businesses, and reshaping Connecticut’s shoreline. The storm also caused leaders to rethink our response to major environmental events.

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Incarceration
1:52 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Film Sheds Light on Hidden World of Supermax Prisons

"Solitary has become legitimated as a prison practice when all of the data shows that it destroys inmates psychologically and physically, and actively makes them worse," says Aseem Mehta.
Visual Law Project

Yale Law School’s Visual Law Project has created a film about Northern Correctional Institution in Somers, Connecticut. The documentary film sheds light on the hidden world of supermax prisons, where inmates may be held in solitary confinement for weeks, months, and even years at a time. The film is called "The Worst of the Worst."

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Courts
12:47 pm
Mon October 28, 2013

Trial of Terror Suspects Delayed

Babar Ahmad.
Credit BBC

It's been a year since two terror suspects were extradited from Britain to a supermax prison in Connecticut. Government authorities say Babar Ahmad and Syed Talha Ahsan operated a group of websites that allegedly recruited fighters, and provided cash, military equipment and training to terrorists in Afghanistan and Chechnya. 

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Sexual Assault
11:41 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Seven Women File Federal Discrimination Complaint Against UConn

Kylie Angell, a recent UConn graduate, has said she felt unsafe on campus.
Credit University of Connecticut

Seven women who say they were victims of sexual assaults while students at the University of Connecticut have filed a federal discrimination complaint against the school. Their attorney, Gloria Allred, says the complaint to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights alleges UConn failed to respond appropriately to the women's allegations. 

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Brain Science
2:11 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Oreos as Addictive as Cocaine, in Lab Rats

Rats were found to prefer the middle part of an Oreo, just like many humans.
Credit BrokenSphere / Wikimedia Commons

News has been pretty rough lately, between the government shutdown and the debt ceiling. Now comes word that America’s favorite cookie can produce similar effects on the brain as addictive drugs. New research from Connecticut College finds that the Oreo cookie is just as addictive as cocaine, at least for lab rats.

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Opening Government
1:29 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Back to Work, But No Reason to Celebrate, Says Murphy

Senator Chris Murphy.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

It’s back to work for hundreds of thousands of furloughed government employees. President Obama has signed legislation ending the partial government shutdown and averting a U.S. default. But U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said there’s no reason to celebrate.

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